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Sewing Icarex


JohnC
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I bought a singer heavy duty machine and all the Icarex I need to build the Escape kite.  I have never sewn before, but had seen my mother do clothing and quilts, but I can't do it.  I would ask my mother for assistance, but she had a stroke almost 2 years ago and can't recall how to do it. 

My machine tension seems to be fine, but as the sail gets larger, the number of rats nests and skipped stitches increases.  I am using the 1/4" seam baste to hold everything together, the recommended thread, and microtex 90/14 needle.  Could the weight of the sail still be causing the thread to ball up on the needle or is the basting tape putting too much tension on the thread?  Any help appreciated.

Thanks.

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For the rat's nest (I called them bird's nests) I'll only say. Stop threading the needle with the presser foot down. Trust me. That's the trigger that causes  the nest underneath. FWIW, That's not bobbin thread. it comes from the spool.

The other issue is If you are using basting tape. You need to clean the needle regularly with Goo Gone or Sew-Eeze.. I clean my machine every bobbin. And My machine is nowhere near heavy duty.

Lastly only bonded thread. the fuzzy stuff catches the gummy way too easily and that causes the majority of your missed stitches.. Avoid cotton thread. Use 100% Poly Bonded thread. (I like size V30.) I you are making something big, Consider V46.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, I read that not having the presser foot down can cause issues at the needle.  Honestly, I am not sure I threaded the needle with the foot up at all times.  Will have to remember to double check this.  The first wad of thread on the kite sail was due to thread getting under the spool on my Drizt spool holder.  Honestly thought I had that prevented.  The basting tape, I am not sure I really like what it does to the needle.  That stuff gets everywhere.  I cleaned the needle with B-12 carburetor cleaner to get it out of the eyelet.  Checked my thread and it is bonded, I don't remember the V number, not at the house to check. 

Thinking back on that days calamities, I would suspect my feeding the material through the machine was probably too aggressive and half of the cause for bad stitching.  I think I had more success while holding the front and back of the seam and trying to gently feed the machine, but I still had a few stitch issues.  I am thinking about getting tissue paper strips and place that under the fabric to assist the machine feeding.  Would that make it much easier for the machine to feed the material through?

 

 

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I was having the birds nest issue and found that tip. Haven't had more than one or two since and that's been over a year.

I personally use goo gone to clean my needle every bobbin or so and occasionally when it will skip a stitch. The Bonded thread worked so well for me as a solution that I went back and used basting tape I had from before that I thought was too sticky.  Seam/basting tape tends to collect for me one of two places.. Either little balls of it gather on the needle which I just clear off with q-tip and Goo Gone and occasionally (only recently in fact) it will be on the bottom of the presser foot. I just added that to my places to clean with Goo Gone and have found it manageable.

Personally,I've never used backing tissue but I know others that do.. Except for the Balloon, Spider and Snowflake kites, I'm really only sewing straight lines. My machine is a cheap Brother and has gotten me through 80+ kites now with no issues other than cleaning.

Many people will advocate for a walking foot. That may or may not be what you need. individual choice applies here. I will say you should never have to push or pull your fabric through,. you should only be guiding or steering..  Hope these tips help..

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Thanks RiffClown.  I tried to doing some more sewing last Friday and double checked my threading of the needle per your advice.  I didn't get a birds nest.  :)  However, I did get one ball of thread on the under side of each seam.  I think it would happen when I got a little panicky because I was coming up on what I thought was a critical spot and probably pulled the material to cause it.  I try to guide the fabric through to stay on course.  The tissue paper seemed to help feed the fabric through.  Does the slightest movement of the needle cause those bird nests on the underside of the seam?  Is it really that touchy?  

 

I am using a Singer 4452, which is from the heavy duty consumer line.  I think I found a total of 6 sewing machines in my mother's quilting stuff.  All huskavarna.  I think there is a Rose, D1, and an SE in there which I think is completely programmable.  I haven't used any of them for fear of damaging them.  Everything I read in the kite world said to use a heavy duty machine to get through layers.

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I had a machine that didn't feed the material very well. Changed over to a cheaper machine with a very sharp needle and have had minimal issues since. Again, you should not be pulling or pushing the material.. That is the sewing machine's job. If it is not feeding the material then something like a walking foot is probably in order.

FWIW, My machine is not what I would consider a heavy duty.  80+ kites later the $100 machine is doing fine. Just needs the cleaning every bobbin or so. you should be able to put two scraps on top of each other, place one finger on top to guide and sew a straight seam down the two. If you can't then something is amiss.

If you look closely when the machine is still, you can see where the seam tape gum has formed a small ball at the top of the needle. That's the spot I clean every bobbin or so.

 

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  • 1 month later...

I have yet to get back on my kite project, but been busy every weekend so far.  I want to compare my results with your video.  Also, I noticed that my machine has a presser foot adjustment screw.  Have you ever messed with that before? 

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I probably would have if I'd had issues but I don't mess with what's working ;)

 

FWIW this Machine has only ever sewn kites.. Anything else gets sewn on my older Singer..

 

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  • 5 months later...

Possible things to try to remedie the problem with glue buildup /thread sticking while sewing through adhesives.

Adding more liquid silicone to thread. (Mimic/improve bonding)

Some needles also have some sort of coating to prevent glue sticking(i have not tested it) 

Coating/lubing needle(not tested)

I am also curious wether the tread angle into the needle would matter. Seeing your setup riffclown, the angle between thread and needle is extreme, compared to my older viking/husqvarna machines. May be that this angle is beneficial to reduce thread sticking? Like the thread is kept away from the glob of glue on the needle. On my machine the thread nearly touches the glue glob.. This needs to be tested. 

 

 

 

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You can also lubricate the thread with a light machine oil. Don't go crazy and drown it in oil. A dozen drops equally distributed on the spool will work wonders. Wind bobbins from the lubricated spool. The light machine oil evaporates within a month and doesn't leave any stains or bleed into the fabric if used sparingly.

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The Quality of the thread is huge here.. A high quality bonded thread is paramount. The gumminess of the adhesives will make lesser threads start skipping stitches very quickly. The fuzzier the thread the faster you will encounter issues.  I clean needle, sewing foot and platform every bobbin. I disassemble and clean the whole assembly every other kite. (Some residue seems to gather ion the bottom of the platform sometimes.)

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Quote

Some needles also have some sort of coating to prevent glue sticking(i have not tested it)

I've did and never use another kind of needles again. Works wonderful. You can even sew glued Velcro without any problems. These needles have a black coating.

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5 hours ago, leen said:

 

I've did and never use another kind of needles again. Works wonderful. You can even sew glued Velcro without any problems. These needles have a black coating.

Interesting and I think I would like to reduce the risk eith expensive icarex. I have bought the 3m 9640?! Transfer tape but not tried it yet. The basting tape from a European(metropolis drachen) vendor is leaving lots of residue and sticks easily to the needle. Better with generous silicone added to thread. 

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Quote

The basting tape from a European(metropolis drachen) vendor is leaving lots of residue and sticks easily to the needle. Better with generous silicone added to thread. 

This tape is the best i could found.

Knipsel.PNG

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On 10/26/2021 at 10:32 AM, Fireliner said:

Possible things to try to remedie the problem with glue buildup /thread sticking while sewing through adhesives.

Adding more liquid silicone to thread. (Mimic/improve bonding)

Some needles also have some sort of coating to prevent glue sticking(i have not tested it) 

Coating/lubing needle(not tested)

I am also curious wether the tread angle into the needle would matter. Seeing your setup riffclown, the angle between thread and needle is extreme, compared to my older viking/husqvarna machines. May be that this angle is beneficial to reduce thread sticking? Like the thread is kept away from the glob of glue on the needle. On my machine the thread nearly touches the glue glob.. This needs to be tested. 

Tried increasing angle between thread and needle but no conclusion yet. Went extreme like the angle in your video riffclown but think something in-between would suit my machine better.

On 10/26/2021 at 10:32 AM, Fireliner said:

 

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1 hour ago, Fireliner said:

Seems that we have different experience with this product.

This can well be. I am only sharing my experience and not criticize other products. The result can be different due age of the tape, themperature, condition of the needle ect. My only advice is; stick to what best works for you. Just one word of advice though, when you edit the sewing thread, it is better to do this with paraffin than with silicone. Paraffin also repels glue, but evaporates after a few minutes, while silicone remains permanently on the yarn.

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39 minutes ago, leen said:

This can well be. I am only sharing my experience and not criticize other products. The result can be different due age of the tape, themperature, condition of the needle ect. My only advice is; stick to what best works for you. Just one word of advice though, when you edit the sewing thread, it is better to do this with paraffin than with silicone. Paraffin also repels glue, but evaporates after a few minutes, while silicone remains permanently on the yarn.

Age of tape might be impacting results, but it is also extremely thin(no carrier) compared to the other basting tapes i have tested. I would look for the Prym tape when shopping for nonstick needles. 

Thank you for the tip about paraffin. Although paraffin in my world has very many forms. What quality specifically are you using? 

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Here is the clear kind. It only costs €4,50 a liter. No, the reason is that something of silicone remains in the yarn and of paraffin not, because it evaporates completely. So you can impregnate the yarn with paraffin, because it evaporates anyway. Both prevent glue build-up on the needle, only paraffin evaporates completely. But to be honnest, I doubt silicone has any adverse effect on yarn or kite fabric. Anyway, when i started tu use these coated needles and the Prym tape, there is no need for using them at all.

Schermafbeelding 2021-10-29 113256.png

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13 minutes ago, leen said:

Here is the clear kind. It only costs €4,50 a liter. No, the reason is that something of silicone remains in the yarn and of paraffin not, because it evaporates completely. So you can impregnate the yarn with paraffin, because it evaporates anyway. Both prevent glue build-up on the needle, only paraffin evaporates completely. But to be honnest, I doubt silicone has any adverse effect on yarn or kite fabric. Anyway, when i started tu use these coated needles and the Prym tape, there is no need for using them at all.

Schermafbeelding 2021-10-29 113256.png

Seems like some kind of clean (odorless) paraffin. I can understand the not needing to use this if the Prym tape is better than the 3M tape. 

Thank you for sharing. :)

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